Luke and Adam are in a committed, five-year relationship in Next Fall, opening at Falcon Theater May 6. Luke is 12 years younger than Adam, but that is not their biggest difference: Luke is devoutly religious and Adam is an atheist.
Further, Luke’s parents do not know he is gay. That becomes an important plot point when Luke lies in a coma after an accident and family and friends gather at the hospital.
Geoffrey Naufft’s play, which made its New York debut in 2009, takes on big issues of religion and sexual orientation with wit and warmth.
“The challenge of the play is to not feel we are taking sides, but presenting both sides,” said co-director Tara Williams. “The play is more about people with different beliefs than about a same-sex couple. It is a bit of a period piece already, being first produced in 2009. If it was today, they would be married.”
The action of the play moves back and forth between the hospital and vignettes to show how Luke (played by Mathew Wilson) and Adam (Brian Anderson) met and how their relationship exists despite their religious differences. Rounding out the cast are Allen Middleton and Tracy Schoster as Luke’s divorced parents and Lauren Carr and Michael Monks as friends.
Co-directing the Falcon production with Williams is Clink Ibele, head of the theater’s Falcon Takes Flight community outreach program.
“The philosophy at Falcon is a working man’s theater – we give training to others in theater,” Williams said. “Clint had never done a full production all the way through, and this is an opportunity to have him ride alongside. We are making decisions together. And he brings things to the show I don’t have – he grew up with a religious background and he’s a man .”
Williams is a Falcon board member and production and costume coordinator. “We each wear a lot of hats at Falcon,” she noted. Last year, she directed The Eight: Reindeer Monologues at Falcon. Most recently, she and Schoster played the leads in Falcon’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane.